One of the biggest cheers at the International Wagner Competition two years ago came after the announcement theyd be doing it again this year. The mood at Seattle Operas inaugural event was electric, even aside from the contestants thrilling performances, thanks to the Audience Choice vote that got the sold-out house invested, debating, and cheering their faves. This year, from 50 tape applicants, 30 singers were chosen to audition live in Munich, London, and New York City; of those, eight finalists will tonight sing two Wagner arias eachone in a swimsuit and one in an evening gown. (Yes, Im kidding.) Asher Fisch will conduct the orchestra, and among the judges is tenor Ben Heppnerwho decided that as long as he was in town, he may as well sing a recital of his own (Liszt, Wagner, Duparc, and more, Thursday at 7:30 p.m.). At stake, in addition to the Audience Choice and Orchestras Choice awards, are two prizes of $15,000 each. And a supporting role in From Justin to Kelly 2. (Again, kidding.) GAVIN BORCHERT McCaw Hall, Seattle Center, 389-7676, www.seattleopera.org. $45$65. 7:30 p.m.
Sat., Aug. 16, 7:30 p.m., 2008